City clerk clarifies voting rules

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 5, 2000

The phone’s been ringing at Natchez City Hall for the past two days with people asking just who can vote in the May 16 second primary. The answer from Natchez City Clerk Frances Trosclair: Any voter registered by April 1, 2000, can vote in the runoff between mayoral candidates Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown and F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith.

There was some confusion about who could vote after Tuesday’s primary because of a state restriction against people switching which party primary they vote in between an election and a runoff. But because only a Democratic primary was held, that restriction doesn’t apply.

By all accounts Tuesday’s voter turnout was low — 5,884 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s election, or 48.53 percent of all voters.

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Both Brown and former Circuit Clerk Fred Ferguson said they thought one reason for the low turnout is that some people who normally vote Republican thought they couldn’t vote in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. That isn’t the case; anyone can vote in the primary or the runoff.

Adams County Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot; Vines said he will be working to increase voter participation by educating students about the voting process and making people aware of where the precincts are in both the city and the county.

Precincts for the city elections are:

Ward 1: City council chambers on South Pearl Street.

Ward 2: Frazier School, 1445 George F. West Blvd. (Voters no longer vote at the Wallace Center.)

Ward 3: Fire station, 467 John R. Junkin Drive.

Ward 4: Union hall, 410 Gayosa Ave.

Ward 5: National Guard Armory, 329 Liberty Road.

Ward 6: Duncan Park Canteen, Duncan Park Road.

According to the secretary of state’s municipal election officials handbook, a person’s name must appear on the pollbooks in order for that person to vote.

But, according to the handbook, if a person’s name does not appear on the pollbooks, that person can make an affidavit in writing before one of the managers of the precinct that the person is entitled to vote and that he or she has been illegally denied registration, the person may vote a paper ballot.

For the primary runoff, requests for absentee ballots to be mailed or to vote in office are now being accepted.

The city clerk’s office will be open this Saturday and Saturday, May 13, from 8 a.m. to noon for absentee voting.

The deadline for voter registration for the June 6 general election is noon this Saturday at the city clerk’s office.